School of Life Sciences
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Dr Nahla Alhafez
|Phone:||+44 (0)1782 733691|
|Location:||Huxley Building : 024|
I graduated with a BSc (Hons) from the Department of Biology, Faculty of life Science, Aleppo University in 2005 and specialised in Microbiology. After that I studied one year in a higher education diploma course, in which my main focus was on Anthrax. I obtained the degree in 2006. Then I was appointed as a lecturer at Damascus University. During 2008 to 2011, I taught undergraduate students in modules such as Genetics, Ecology and Entomology. In 2011, I got a scholarship from the Syrian High education Ministry to study a PhD at Keele university under the supervision of Prof. Frederic Tripet investigating the Malaria mosquitoe An. gambiae through studying the speciation process between recently diverged species and the potential genetic and behavioral differences between them.
I successfully finished my PhD in April 2016.
During my PhD I worked as a demonstrator in the School of Life Sciences within the year 1 and 2 undergraduate and MSc level in cellular and mulecular Biology, Geneticts and neuroscience which continues today. Currently I have been appointed as a teaching fellow in Microbiology at Keele university in the Science Learning Centre.
My main PhD research interests were in controlling Malaria disease through biological control of the vector, in the first step focused on understanding the genetics and their reflection on the traits that cause speciation in Anopheles gambiae s.l. species. These species are reported as the most important vectors due to their ability to spread and exploit both temporary and man-made breeding sites. These factors combined with their capacity to transmit malaria, make them wide-open subject for researchers to find alternative different methods to control malaria disease. Historically, there were many attempts to limit or eradicate malaria disease by controlling the mosquitoes. two distinct sibling species Anopheles coluzzii and Anopheles gambiae s.s. were defined in An. gambiae complex based on single nucleotide polymorphisms intergenic spacer (IGS) near the centromere of the X chromosome. Therefore, two objectives were taken into consideration in this research. The first was genetic objective that aims to identify the islands of speciation that more likely responsible for assortative mating and the second one was investigating the behavioural objective that aims to identify the mechanisms of assortative mating using recombinant and parental strains. The outcome and findings were important steps to explain the speciation process within An. gambiae s.l. species that in turn important for malaria control strategies.
Aboagye-Antwi F, Alhafez N,et al. 2015. Experimental Swap of Anopheles gambiae's Assortative Mating Preferences Demonstrates Key Role of X-Chromosome Divergence Island in Incipient Sympatric Speciation. Plos genetics, vol. 11(4), Article ARTN e1005141.
Alhafez N. April 2013: Genetic and behavioural mechanisms of speciation in the Anopheles gambiae complex. Conference: British Society for Parasitology.